Date: Tue Apr 21, 1998 16:27 EDT
<<How did you develop the additional Klingon backstory? And how do you see
the character of Worf? >>
When I first started as a staff writer back in TNG's 3rd season, one of my
first assignments was to deal with the story that eventually became "Sins of
the Father." Michael Piller asked me to write him a memo on the Klingons
and how I saw them before we tackled the specifics of that show, so I sat
down one afternoon and gave him my take on the guys with the ridges. In
that memo (which is buried somewhere in my voluminous files) I compared the
Klingons to the Samauri of feudal Japan, the Vikings, and the Hell's Angels.
That outlook has been refined and deepened over the years, but it's still
a good description of how we think about the Klingons.
I've always seen Worf as a deeply conflicted character. A man brimming with
passions and barely contained violence. Being raised on Earth has taught
him how to restrain himself in public, but under the surface there's a
cauldron of roiling emotions. He's also a man who desperately wants to
think of himself as a true Klingon, but who knows that he's different than
his warrior brothers and always will be.
<<How do you approach your scripts?>>
My approach is to try something different each time I sit down to write a
script. I'm always asking myself if there's a different way to approach a
scene, another way to deliver exposition, a new way to reveal character --
another way to tell the tale. For instance -- I hate writing space battle
scenes because it's so hard for me to find new and interesting dialog that
we haven't heard a dozen times already in the franchise.
<<I know this was probably a wardrobe choice, but I noticed in "Inquisition"
that Sloane wore what appeared to be four gold pips and a bar. Does this
connote a rank above captain, or do you suppose it has some obscure relation
to his [proclaimed] position within Starfleet?>>
I believe it was the symbol of Internal Affairs.
<<Who had the idea for the Nexus? How much did Shatner contribute to the
Generations story ideas? >>
The Nexus in "Generations" grew out of several story meetings between Rick,
myself and Brannon. We all wanted Kirk and Picard to get together, but
nobody was happy with doing a traditional time-travel story, so we started
looking for something else -- a place that existed outside of linear time
where our two heroes could meet face to face. We had a couple of
conversations with Bill about the movie, but for the most part he simply
raised questions and concerns and we addressed them.
<<Are you still considering spec scripts for season 7? >>
I think we've pretty much closed our consideration of specs. All specs will
still be read, but the coverage will be forwarded to Voyager for
consideration of the writer.
<<have you had the opportunity to look at the book celebrating the 10th
anniversary of TNG: "The Continuing Mission"? >>
Haven't read it.
<<My only question is, why did you and the rest of the producers decide that
you didn't want to take DS9 in the direction of a story about the prophets?
What made you decide to change storylines?>>
We feel like the Prophets have been and continue to be very much a part of
<<Do you think that even the most ardent Dukatophile doesn't understand that
Dukat isn't a hero and has done some really "sh***y things? That you need to
blackwash the character (Waltz, Wrongs) to drive the point home? Have you
abandoned the comments you made in Sci-Fi Universe (Feb. 1998)? "...we're
not going to....make it to the point that our people can't stand even to
talk to him anymore, or that there aren'tany circumstances under which he
couldn't pair up with out people again. We're not going to do that.>>
I don't see either "Waltz" or "Wrongs..." as an attempt to "blackwash" the
character of Dukat. We've always seen him as a villain, and that's the way
he was written in both of those episodes. As for my comments in Sci-Fi
Universe, I'd say that while they accurately reflected our intentions at the
time, it is hard for me to see us teaming up with Dukat now. However, as the
above quote shows, you should never say "never"...
<<This character [Dukat] is your creation. Why aren't you proud of it? Why
do the PTB's of DS9 seem to have such a personal and negative reaction to
the character? >>
What makes you think we're not proud of creating and writing a such complex,
intriguing villain? I like Dukat. I also hate him. I love to write for
him. I also loathe the things I have him do. That's what makes him such a
dynamic and fascinating character. He's a dark man with a dark soul, but
he's also charming, funny, and someone who you can't help but feel a certain
amount of sympathy for.
<<Hans Beimler mentioned on a recent chat you and the writing staff will be
plotting out the *entire* next season ahead of time. Sounds like that gives
the season great potential. Also sounds a little daunting. Can you tell us
anything about what that process will be like? >>
Not yet -- we're still shooting the final episode and we haven't focused on
Season 7 yet.
<<I just finished reading the transcript of an Interview with Hans Beimier
(sp?). He said that Terry Farrel will not be back next season. (a tear
streams down my face) If anyone should leave its Worf, IMHO. He also said
that the season finale would be called "Tears of the Prophets" or something
like that. Can you please elaborate on these.>>
I can confirm both Terry's departure and that the last episode will be
called "Tears of the Prophets" but that's about it.
<<Was the season finale rewritten to include the death or departure of
Jadzia Dax, as is being reported on the Internet and these boards?>>
We'd been prepared to deal with the possibility of Terry leaving for quite
some time, but we kept hoping it wasn't going to happen. The script wasn't
rewritten, but the story in development was not designed to be the "Dax
leaves DS9" show, so we had to find a way for it to serve that function as
well as our other story needs.
<<Is the wormhole permanently closed to all ships from the Gamma Quadrant?
To only Dominion ships? Should we assume that from now on the Dominion can
only rely on the Cardassians and what it can build and breed for itself in
the Alpha Quadrant?>>
Nothing is coming through the Wormhole from the Gamma Quadrant at present.
<<I didn't understand a reference in "Pale Moonlight". The Romulan senator
said that the Dominion shipyards are in full production while the Federation
shipyards are struggling to rebuild. I thought that at the end of last
season the Federation scored a great victory in destroying the Dominion
shipyards in Cardassia while the Dominion/ Cardassian fleet was capturing
DS9. If so, then where did all those Dominion shipyards come from? >>
A long time has passed since the destruction of the Dominion shipyards in "A
Call to Arms" and they've been rebuilt.
<<Let's start lobbying for season 8 right now. Unless you really don't want
to keep going, Ron? If we could convince Paramount and the affiliates to
renew the show, would you and the rest of the crew/staff want to stay with
As much as we love the show, the unanimous feeling of the writing/producing
staff is that it's time to go. Like the old adage says -- always leave'em
<<I have read a lot about Michael Piller and his attitudes to the first 2
Stasr Trek TNG movie efforts, and some things he says just really irk me.
For example, he has made it abundantly clear that he doesn't like the way
Data was given emotions, and it one interview suggested that the entire
phase of that characters development should/would be ignored for the third
I haven't seen the quote you're referring to, but Michael spent a lot of
years working with the TNG characters and he's certainly entitled to his
opinion of Data and how we handled him in the features. Personally, I think
it was the right choice and I'd do it again.
<<Also, this is Piller saying this. Granted, he delivered some of the
best stories TNG ever did, but his was also the sole voice that
shutdown a lot of other great would-have-been stories. Need I
mention the episode where Q would have used the Enterprise crew in a
sort of olympics against another Q and hit/her chosen race of
supermen. All reports indicated that Schwarzeneggar would have
actually appeared in the episode, and the story was grewat. Yet
Piller said no.>>
In defense of Michael, the Q-Olympics story was ludicrous and needed to be
deep-sixed. Also, there was never -- ever -- any chance that Arnold was
going to appear on the show.
<<In the TNG episode "Pegasus" a Federation interphase cloaking device was
introduced. Any chance it will be brought up again in the war with the
<<When DS9 ends, what will happen to Worf?>>
I have no idea.
<<According to Okuda's chronology:
If Kira Nerys was born in 2343 and Terok Nor was built in 2351, and Dukat
was posted to Terok Nor as Commander and Prefect in 2359, what "careful
research" brought you to the conclusion that Dukat and Meru could have
gotten together *on Terok Nor* in 2346? >>
A closer examination of the Okuda chronology will reveal that many of the
dates you're citing are "conjectural" and not canon.
<<Are the powers that be going to push for an Emmy nomination for Avery
Brooks's outstanding performance in "Far Beyond the Stars?" Even better,
are they going to push for the episode to be nominated for other awards as
Paramount has never really pushed our show for Emmy consideration (outside
of the technical categories) and I doubt they will this time either. It's a
continuing source of irritation on the part of the writing staff, but we've
pretty much resigned ourselves to it by this point.
<<I'm I the only one who's getting sick of the way Rick Bearman keeps
changing things in star trek. For example the Enterprise-D was a Galaxy
class starship which ended up being destroyed at veridian III , Secondly we
saw the U.S.S Yamato being blown up in Contagion by the Iconian probe,
Thirdly we see the U.S.S Odessy being destroyed by the Jem H'adar then in the
episode Sacrifice of angles(Deep space 9) theres a scene where we see 4
Galaxy class starships. Now if my maths is right 4+3=7,now this statement
didnt come from any little back room boy but from Gene Roddenberry himself
when he said that there were no more than 6 ships built. So why does
Bearman keep changing things Roddenberry says.>>
First of all it's Berman. Second of all, Rick didn't ask for those Galaxy-
class ships in "Sacrifice", the writers did. And finally, just because
there were only six Galaxys built back in Season 1 of TNG, there's no reason
to believe that Starfleet didn't continue to churn them out.
<<Will Weyoun be in any other shows this season?>>
The real Weyoun will be in "Tears of the Prophets."
<<hey ron, was the DS9 title "in the pale moonilght" a reference to Batman,
or something else. >>
I only know the quote from "Batman" -- does anyone out there know if they
took it from somewhere else?
<<Okay, are there ANY future plans of having discussions for another trek
series after DS9 and VOY's time has passed?>>
Not at this time.
<<Will the DS9 or VOY crew EVER be in their own movies, as the crew of TNG
At the moment, there are no plans for DS9 movies. It's way too early to
know if Voyager will go into features.
<<In a previous post (A long time ago in a folder far far away....) you said
that there were no plans on invoving the Romulans in the war. My question
is when did TPTB decide to start the "Romulan Thread"? And more importantly,
Why the change of heart?>>
This is why I usually try to dodge or qualify my answers about our plans for
the future. Things change. Our thinking changes, sometimes daily. We had
no plans for Romulan involvement in the war until "In the Pale Moonlight"
was being developed. As we worked on the story, it became clear that
bringing the Romulans into the war was a good fit for the episode and for
the series so we went in that direction.
<<There's been some division on the ...Pale Moonlight episode message board
about the storytelling technique of having Sisko speak directly to the
camera. For what it's worth, I thought is was wonderfully effective. Any
flexibility in approach to staging an episode helps DS9 stand out visually
from the other Trek series, as long as any one technique doesn't become
overused. Was this device in Michael Taylor's original draft or was it
added later? (BTW, Avery does a great Brock Peters impression!)>>
I added the device of Sisko recording his log and speaking to the camera.
This episode started out as a Jake story, if you can believe it. The story
that Peter wrote and that Michael turned into a script was told from Jake's
point of view. The premise was that he's a reporter doing a profile on
Garak and then begins to realize that something BIG is going on that
involves his father. The idea was to do a sort of "All the President's Men"
type of episode where the trail leads Jake to his own father's involvement
in a conspiracy to bring the Romulans into the war via a deception
facilitated by Garak. The story at its core, however, didn't work (through
no fault of Michael Taylor, by the way -- he wrote the script we sent him
out to do and did the best he could with it).
When it became time for me to do the rewrite, it was clear that we'd have to
rebreak the story, so we gathered again and put the show back on the board
(always an excruciating process). The first thing to go was the Jake angle
as we all agreed that the meat of the story was Sisko's dance with the devil
as he attempted to turn the tide of the war. We tried two or three
approaches over the course of three days, and kept getting frustrated
because nothing seemed to work.
Finally, I was at home doing something completely unrelated when the log
entry/flashback device occured to me. I called Rene (much to his surprise)
and he liked it. The next day, I presented the concept to the rest of the
staff and we decided to go for it. In the end, I found this episode to be
one of the most rewarding shows I've had the pleasure of working on in that
it never flinched or tried to find an easy way out. It forced our lead
character into actions that he never thought he would take and into moral
territory he never thought he'd travel. It's shows like this that make me
<<Do you feel that DS9 is backing itself into The B5 Corner Of Being Too
At this point, I think you're either with us or you're not. I don't know
how many brand-new viewers we're going to pick up in the seventh year and
I'm comfortable with just playing to our regular audience and really mining
the show for all it's worth.
<<At the start of ["In the Pale Moonlight"], Garak reaches out to his
contacts on Cardassia, and within one day, all are dead. Are we supposed to
assume that they were killed because they quickly began their espionage, or
simply because they spoke to Garak?>>
They were killed because the Dominon got wind of their discussions with
<<At the end of the episode, when Sisko is going over the list of his sins,
he mentions the death of the forger and of the Romulan senator, but Garak's
friends are forgotten. Did Garak actually have contacts on Cardassia, or
did he just lead Sisko on, with the plan to forge evidence all along?>>
Garak really did have these contacts, they really were killed, but I doubt
he considered them to be "friends" and probably didn't consider them worth
mentioning in the final scene.
<<Some historians now say that the central issue which motivated the North
to move against the South was *not* the issue of slavery, but the issue of
national integrity (the secession issue). We went to war to preserve the
Union, not to abolish slavery, although the latter was used in service of
Well, wait a minute...
The North did not move against the South. The southern states seceded from
the Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln, and then attacked a
Federal fortress in Charleston harbor, thereby igniting the Civil War. The
central issue before the country was slavery and this had been the case for
a few decades prior to the outbreak of fighting. The "right" of a state
to secede from the Union was an issue, but hardly worth fighting for unless
there was an overriding concern forcing a state to take such a radical step.
That overriding concern was the continuation of the institution of slavery
in the south and in the newly-formed states and territories being added to
It is correct that the North did not begin the war with the stated intention
of abolishing slavery, but without the existence of slavery and the bitter
debate that had been festering in the country for many years, it's hard to
say that the Civil War would've ever come about over something as abstract
as states rights or the legalities of secession.
Date: Tue, Apr 21, 1998 18:40 EDT
<< It is true that the actual physical firefight began with Southern cannon
at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. However, the fact was that, prior to that
act, Lincoln's stated goal -- as codified in his inaugural speach in March
of that year, was to prevent secession. Lincoln specifically stated that
secession was illegal and stated his intent to maintain the Union.
Further, the 1860 election centered around the rights of the Southern states
to secede. Indeed, the Constitutional Union Party was formed specifically
to advocate the issue of secession, nominating John Bell. And, by March
1861, several states had passed legislation declaring secession to be legal.
The War would not have gone on, I think, if it was simply a matter of one
part of the country wanting slavery and the other part not.>>
All of the above is true, however, the entire reason that the issue of
secession was on the table in the 1860 election was because the slavery
question was coming to a boil. Lincoln was seen (correctly) as an opponent
of the South's "peculiar institution" and his election to the presidency was
seen as a threat to the slave-holding states despite his promise not to
interfere with the practice of slavery in the South. The secession of South
Carolina and the others was born out of a belief that the Federal
government was moving toward the day when it would not only ban the
extension of slavery in new territories and states, but then begin to choke
off the practice throughout the US.
<<In the evalution of some historians, economic reasons for the secession
began as early as the decade of the1850's. The North had passed measures
which had the effect of marginalizing Southern economic interests. For the
entire decade, the South began to feel that the North had prevented them
from acting on their own interests. In the meantime, the Republican Party
began developing a strong anti-slavery slant. However, Southern interests
were not, in origin, simply to promote slavery, nor was the North intent,
intially, on banning it.>>
Yes, but again you're missing the point that slavery lies at the root of all
virtually all these disputes. The southern economy (especially cotton)
depended in large part on this institution and southern leaders viewed any
steps against it as threatening their economic freedom. At the same time,
the northern states were starting to become a hotbed of abolitionist
sentiment, as exemplified in part by the rise of the Republican party and
the election of Lincoln. I do not dispute the fact that the South had
broader interests than the promotion of slavery, but I fail to see any
other causa belli (sp?) that could possibly have sparked the conflict.
<<Also, weren't several of the southern leaders opposed to slavery? Wasn't
Yes and no. Lee was a man of his time -- he felt that slavery was going to
pass from the land eventually and would've welcomed the end of the practice,
but at the same time he also kept slaves.
<<How did you come to the decision to have the Dominion take Betazed? Did
you condider a few world, and come up with that one becsue of the connection
it has to the Fans, becsue of the Troi family?>>
I wanted the Dominion to take a world that actually mattered to the
audience, one of the members of the Federation that we have a connection
to through one of our characters, and Betazed fit the bill.